EXCLUSIVE: Female HERO operator takes on Atlanta traffic - CBS46 News

EXCLUSIVE: Female HERO operator takes on Atlanta traffic

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It's a job in which a majority of the workers are men. But, ask any man about HERO Operator Elnora Redd and you are likely to hear that she gives some of the men a run for their money.

Redd has been working as a HERO Operator for the Georgia Department of Transportation since 2007. She bounced around from job to job, but finally found her calling.

"This is the one I stuck with the longest, it is the most exciting," Redd said. "It is never the same. You are outside helping people. That is what it is all about. I found my niche and plan to be here for some time now."

CBS Atlanta News rode along with Redd to get a better idea of what drivers in Atlanta traffic should do if they find themselves stranded. Whether they have got a flat tire, ran out of gas, or car overheated, Redd said the best option and safest option is to never get out of the car.

"Call 511, let us know where you are at. Let us know if there is something we can do to help you," Redd said.

Next week, on Jan. 31, will mark three years since one of Redd's co-workers and fellow HERO Operator Spencer Pass was hit and killed by a vehicle that lost control on Interstate 85 at Metropolitan Parkway. Redd said every day she remembers her colleague's sacrifice just to keep drivers in Georgia safe.

"If I stop doing what I am doing that means he died for nothing," Redd said. "In my mind, he died helping people, helping citizens of Georgia get to and from safely."

While CBS Atlanta News rode along with Redd we witnessed time after time motorists who did not abide by Georgia's Move Over law. Redd said drivers rarely slow down, or move over, and it is something she would like to have stricter penalties for those drivers who are in violation.

"There has to be something we can do," Redd said.

As Redd helped a stranded motorist who ran out of gas,  we counted more than 20 cars drive by just feet from Redd's HERO unit, and none moved over or slowed down.

Every time Redd steps foot onto the pavement she knows her life is in danger.

"If it is jumping over the guard rail, or the wall, jumping in water, going down a hill, nine times out of 10 I know a pretty safe place to go to," Redd said.

This mother said she helps drivers get to where they are going safely every day and she only asks that motorists give her the same respect so she can make it home to her 5-year-old daughter.

"I got hit once and didn't come home," Redd said as she explained how she was hit while driving in her HERO unit. "When I saw her, she (daughter) cried with me and she was very sensitive and a couple of times she told me she didn't want me to come back. That is kind of hard. But, I explained to her this is something mommy loves to do. I am helping people and she believes in God and she told me that God will protect me so she will let me come back to work."

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